March 16, 2010: 165th short message (10:30 p.m. CET)
4 a.m. We were shoveling for 4.5 hours only to get out of the canyon. 12 tons of snow were relocated. ;-) We rectified the inclination. We are literally on our last legs.
60 km to go. We will take some sleep now.
8 a.m. Sunlight wakes us only to present the next nasty inclination right in front of us in the most beautiful light – no, this can’t be true.
It’s twice as long as the one from last night and just as steep – oh boy!
March 16, 2010: 166th short message (22:50 p.m. CET)
How awesome is that?
We just drove all the way up!
1.5 km later we are now located at N 65°57.574 / W 170°33.869 beneath a hill, aslope in an inclination, heading towards North. We have the most beautiful sunshine and to our right we have a wonderful view and can see the Bering Strait with Radmadov Island (Big Diomede) right in the middle, between two mountains. The inclination that we are standing on, declines all the way to the Bering Strait until it evens out in ice. Why can’t we just take turn her?
To our left we can clearly see traces from wolves. An amazing image in an amazing landscape.
March 17, 2010: 167th short message (03:30 a.m. CET)
We tackled the next pass. Right now, we are stuck below the highest point of the pass for three hours. We are shoveling with our sand sheets, uncoupling, attaching. We are busy. Additionally: F2 only turns until 4000 1/min and F1 only until 2500 1/min. After that there is only jerking and then they stall. We assume there must be dirt in the tank.
40 km to go.
March 17, 2010: 168th short message (06:09 a.m. CET)
After six hours we arrived at the highest point of the pass. The view from here is gigantic. In the distance, we can see the end of Russia, the end of Asia. The last mountains before the Bering Strait can be seen on the horizon. For the first time I can see the end of the journey though Asia.
Behind us, the sun sets and submerges everything in a sea of red/orange color. According to our map there are 30 km and a pass left.
Current position: N 66°00.786 / W 170°26.039
March 17, 2010: 169th short message (10:53 a.m. CET)
A race against time has begun. According to the weather forecast we will be hit by a storm tomorrow, Thursday, around noon. It will also bring snow. Are fighting our fatigue off. Currently we are standing in a riverbed at N 66°01.777 / W 170°17.780
After many attempts, F1 made it up the hill. Now the trailer and then F2. Along these 100 m we can only winch. Wind is starting. First gusts are already here and raise the snow. Hopefully we’ll make it and don’t have to stay for days in the storm. 22 km to go.
March 17, 2010: 170th short message (07:46 p.m. CET)
Had to stop last night at around 2 a.m. Standing, we were alright. I was hardly able to keep my eyes open. Especially now, after five hours of winching and shoveling to get out of the river. But we made it.
We agreed to sleep for 30 minutes, then we wanted to continue. Unfortunately our “night watch” – who was supposed to remain awake – fell asleep as well after (according to his own account ;-)) trying to wake me up several times.
Whatever… Just some minutes ago (6 a.m.) we woke up. We have…
beautiful weather and … the sun just starts rising behind the last Russian mountains. It looks as if it raises from the Bering Sea.
We see the end of the continent, the Bering Strait, ice, Radmanov Island – amazing.
Now we will eat some breakfast.
March 17, 2010: 171st short message (09:47 p.m. CET)
It’s a little bizarre. From our current position (N 66°02.949 / W 170°08.608) we can see “the real yesterday” (little Diomede / Alaska) for the first time.
Looks like today, but how should they know. ;-)
17 km to go.
March 17, 2010: 172nd short message (11:10 p.m. CET)
8.47 a.m. First intervisibility with Uelen. On the horizon we were able to see the houses of Uelen for a short moment.
14 km to go.
March 18, 2010: 173rd short message (00:08 a.m. CET)
10.45 a.m. After all, a race on the last few meters. This cannot be true. The storm that was supposed to be here by noon, sends messenger after messenger. The wind increases, clouds cast shadows. Menacing they arrive from all sides, seem to surround us. They seem to sink sown. We press ourselves to the ground, try to squeeze underneath them, and try not to get caught. They are snow clouds. The blizzard awaits us. In some places it’s snowing already. It’s threatening us, as it seems.
Position: N 66°05.036 / W 170°00.475
8 km to go.
March 18, 2010: 174th short message (01:26 a.m. CET)
12.30 p.m. 6 km until we arrive in Uelen. The blizzard starts. Only 40 m visibility left.
March 18, 2010: 175th short message (05:05 a.m. CET)
What a welcome, what a welcome. Many came, laughed, and were happy with us. The cars received the signatures of at least all children from Uelen ;-) and many others. Lavrentia was immediately informed that we arrived.
Our has already been arranged. We have a small room in a house of one of Victor’s friends.
The team will take a little break now. Then, as soon as possible, we will start repairing the cars and make preparations for the Bering Strait.
March 18, 2010: 176th short message (09:41 a.m. CET)
8 p.m. Parked the trailers in front of the house, found a box for the cars, ate some warm food. Are going to sleep now. We got an invitation for a speech in the school tomorrow. Additionally, we to take care of several administrative issues, etc.
Thanks to Russia
I hesitated until now, BUT it looks like we have the opportunity to arrive. 2 km to go.
On this day, the day that we arrive at the end of Russia and thus the end of Asia, I would like to write a Thank You to Russia.
“Today, personally and representative for all who have been a part of this and who will be a part of this, I bow low for the people of Russia and thank the government/administration of this country. Thank you for giving the expedition “Paris / New York – Transcontinental” the privilege to drive through your country and collect so many unbelievable experiences. I will not forget what you have offered for the PNY-expedition. It is the big heart of Russia that can give hospitality as I’ve never seen it anywhere else in the world. It is the Russian tradition, culture and people that deserve respect and reckoning.
It is a special, an extraordinary important culture.
Thanks to Uelen
Right now there are bits and pieces of words, half sentences or sometimes complete phrases running through my head.
The time has come for a few thoughts – today.
In the radio of my car are playing songs that have accompanied me for years. It is comfortably warm in the car, the mind wanders.
Every once in a while I get reminded how insignificant a few millimeters of iron sheet and glass around us are. Without the engine running, the 75° difference in temperature that we already had, wouldn’t be kept for longer than a couple of minutes.
There are probably many people who consider what we do as pointless. There will be people who smile at us and there might be people that we/I have upset during our trip to Uelen.
It could be. And hereby I would like to apologize - personally and representative - to those whom we knowingly or unknowingly upset.
If we fail the upcoming attempt of the Bering Strait crossing or not, if people vilify us or not, if people laugh about us/me or not, there is one thing that we definitely achieved: many people got to know one another, accomplished the extraordinary and were a part of a special journey. These contacts, meeting, conversations, etc. have left memories within each and every one of us. Even if only a very little piece has left an impression, is memorable – a connection of the most different cultures during the long way to the end of Asia.
Credit goes to all people, beginning in Paris, it is a journey of all of us who have been with us or helped, personally or in their thoughts, actively or passively. I hope to have given each and every one of you the feeling of gratitude. If this was not the case, I would like to apologize for this as well and would like to make up for it right now.
There are small, big, extraordinary and unbelievable efforts that the most different people have given us.
I cannot name all of the people that the project so far is indebted to. They are just too many. But representative to all who have contributed extraordinarily, I would like to tell the story of a little boy:
In a village that we drove through, he came at me. Wrapped in warm clothing, he came with his mother from somewhere through the cold just to meet us. When he arrived at my car, he gave me his hand. And when I was going to shake his hand to say hello, I noticed that he didn’t want to give me his hand, but that he wanted to give me a present. There was a small lucky charm in his thick mitten.
He wanted to give me some luck.
This little man, who was smiling from ear to ear, gave the expedition and me some luck. He might never know how happy I was about this moment, but I want everyone to know how extraordinary his effort was.
From the view of a child, waiting for strangers, with cars that you can gaze at or be afraid of, covered in thick clothing through the bone-chilling cold, going to a complete stranger, smiling at him who hasn’t done anything for it and give him a present, that’s extraordinary. He didn’t know that I have two sons who haven’t seen for way too long and how much I think about them every day, how much I miss them. He didn’t know how much strength to continue I was able to take from his act. But he has made a special contribution when I got down on my knees and gratefully took the present.
As important as the effort of this little boy was, many adults have done things that touched us, that made us happy, that helped, that built bridges, that connected, that made borders and obstacles disappear.
I thank all of you.
Sincerely, Matthias Jeschke
P.S.: Current position of both vehicles and trailer since 1.45 p.m.: N 66°09.169 / W 169°48.928 = 200 m away from Uelen. We don’t know of any other vehicle that has made it all the way to Uelen from Paris by its own accord along the southern route – let alone not with trailers.